Overexpression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) has been associated with cancer. Targeted inhibition of the EGFR pathway has been shown to limit proliferation of cancerous cells. Hence, we employed Traditional Chinese Medicine Database (TCM Database@Taiwan) (http://tcm.cmu.edu.tw) to identify potential EGFR inhibitor. Multiple Linear Regression (MLR), Support Vector Machine (SVM), Comparative Molecular Field Analysis (CoMFA), and Comparative Molecular Similarities Indices Analysis (CoMSIA) models were generated using a training set of EGFR ligands of known inhibitory activities. The top four TCM candidates based on DockScore were 2-O-caffeoyl tartaric acid, Emitine, Rosmaricine, and 2-O-feruloyl tartaric acid, and all had higher binding affinities than the control Iressa®. The TCM candidates had interactions with Asp855, Lys716, and Lys728, all which are residues of the protein kinase binding site. Validated MLR (r2 = 0.7858) and SVM (r2 = 0.8754) models predicted good bioactivity for the TCM candidates. In addition, the TCM candidates contoured well to the 3D-Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationship (3D-QSAR) map derived from the CoMFA (q2 = 0.721, r2 = 0.986) and CoMSIA (q2 = 0.662, r2 = 0.988) models. The steric field, hydrophobic field, and H-bond of the 3D-QSAR map were well matched by each TCM candidate. Molecular docking indicated that all TCM candidates formed H-bonds within the EGFR protein kinase domain. Based on the different structures, H-bonds were formed at either Asp855 or Lys716/Lys728. The compounds remained stable throughout molecular dynamics (MD) simulation. Based on the results of this study, 2-O-caffeoyl tartaric acid, Emitine, Rosmaricine, and 2-O-feruloyl tartaric acid are suggested to be potential EGFR inhibitors.
Tumor growth is associated with overexpression of epidermal growth factors receptors. Targeted control of EGFR by EGFR inhibitors is an attractive therapy alternative to conventional cancer treatment that offers specificity and reduced adverse effects. The purpose of this study was to identify natural compounds from traditional Chinese medicine that may be used as EGFR inhibitors. The top four TCM compounds with the highest binding affinity to EGFR were selected and their suitability as EGFR inhibitors confirmed with different statistical prediction models. The candidate compounds had higher bioactivity than Iressa®, the drug that is clinically used. The TCM compounds also met key structural components that were characteristic among known inhibitors. In addition, the binding between TCM compounds and EGFR were stable which is a fundamental requirement for any targeting drug. Results from bioactivity prediction, structural component matching, and binding stability all point to the possibility of these TCM compounds as suitable EGFR inhibitor candidates.